The Patriots made official the hiring of quarterbacks coach John Hufnagel on Thursday. Hufnagel coached with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season and became available when Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin and his staff was let go on Dec. 30. He brings 28 years of professional football experience at the quarterback position to the team.
"We are very pleased to have added John to our coaching staff," Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick said in a team press release. "His experience, his strong knowledge of the passing game and his ability to work with our young and veteran quarterbacks will be a good asset to the team."
"I was very excited about the opportunity to come up and talk with Bill about the job," Hufnagel said via conference call. "Obviously it's a very good football team. There are very good people at the quarterback position and I am looking forward to being part of a situation that will be successful."
Tom Brady and the Patriots quarterbacks have been without a quarterbacks coach since the unfortunate death of Dick Rehbein during training camp 2001. Since the loss, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis have handled the bulk of the duties that would normally fall on a quarterbacks coach.
Hufnagel is a four-year NFL coaching veteran who spent last season as the quarterbacks coach under Tom Coughlin with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Before joining the Jaguars last season, Hufnagel spent the 2001 season working with Peyton Manning on the Indianapolis Colts coaching staff. He spent the 1999 and 2000 seasons in Cleveland as Tim Couch's coach and is given credit for helping to develop the number one overall selection in the 1999 NFL draft. Couch led all rookie passers that season in completions, attempts, yards, touchdowns and passer rating.
Hufnagel acknowledged the high level of skill of the quarterbacks he has worked with in his career and said he was looking forward to working with this season's NFL leader in touchdown passes, Brady.
"I have been very fortunate, that yes I have been able to work with very talented individuals and Tom is definitely a very talented quarterback," Hufnagel said. "I look forward to, number one getting him in the meeting room and getting to know each other, letting him understand what my philosophy is and how I want to coach and hopefully make all the quarterbacks better football players and better quarterbacks."
"I am going to be very open to what they have done here, what they accomplished and how they accomplished it. And then take that and mold in what I know and how I want to do things and hopefully come up with a good working relationship not only with the quarterbacks, but also with the rest of the coaching staff."
Before entering the ranks as an NFL assistant, Hufnagel spent more than a decade as a coach and general manager in the Arena Football League and as a coach in the Canadian Football League. He was the offensive coordinator of the CFL's Calgary Stampeders from 1990 to 1996 and coached future successful NFL quarterbacks Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia to All-CFL seasons.
The former Penn State quarterback played under Joe Paterno from 1969-1972 and led the Nittany Lions to two bowl games and a 21-3 record over his final two seasons. He played for three seasons in the NFL with the Denver Broncos and then played 12 seasons in the CFL with Calgary, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg.
For more on Hufnagel, check out today's episode of Patriots Video News here on Patriots.com. Host Dave Querzoli talked to former Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan about the coaching addition and also has audio from today's conference call with Hufnagel.
Patriots practice squad defensive lineman Maurice Anderson signed with the Miami Dolphins earlier this week. Anderson originally signed with the Patriots in Oct. 2001 and spent the remainder of that season on the practice squad. He was in training camp with New England this past August, but was released in the final wave of cuts on Sept. 1. He signed with the team's practice squad two days later and spent the entire year on the squad. … According to a report in today's Boston Globe, Patriots strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik turned down an opportunity to discuss a similar position with the Jacksonville Jaguars under new head coach Jack Del Rio. Patriots assistant strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul is expected to interview for a similar position in Jacksonville.